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fallibilism

anthony o'hear


Subject Philosophy » Epistemology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631192589.1993.x


Extract

The idea that any of our opinions about the world or about anything else might turn out false. It is associated particularly with C.S. P eirce and Karl P opper , although many epistemologists would admit to being fallibilists to some degree because the underlying idea, that human beings are ever prone to error in their judgements, is clearly true. What separates fallibilists from other philosophers is the confidence each is ready to rest on what seem to be our epistemological successes. Even among fallibilists there are significant differences on this point. Both Peirce and Popper see human beings in biological terms, as organisms striving to adapt themselves to their environment. But while Peirce sees the aims of knowledge-seeking as the removal of the invitation of doubt, an aim which will in the long run be successfully achieved by a convergence of all enquirers on the truth, Popper insists that we never have positive reasons to accept any belief. His fallibilism, indeed, is hard to distinguish from scepticism . : Peirce ( London : Routledge and Kegan Paul , 1985 ). : Collected Papers 8 vols ( Cambridge. MA: Belnap Press, 1931–58) . : Conjectures and Refutations ( London : Routledge and Kegan Paul , 1963 ). : Objective Knowledge ( Oxford : Clarendon Press , 1972 ). ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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